Three Chinese charged by U.S. with hacking

Chinese firm indicted in US court for fraud after hacking into networks of Siemens and Moodys

According to the indictment, the accused launched a number of "coordinated and unauthorized" cyber-attacks on companies between 2011 and 2017.

Through their phishing campaigns and malware attacks, the said hackers were not only able to breach networks at several USA based private companies like Moody's Analytics, Siemens AG and Trimble Inc., but were also able to get their hands on confidential trade secrets and sensitive employee information.

According to the indictment, Wu, Dong and Xia were owners, employees and associates of Guangzhou Bo Yu Information Technology Company, a firm in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou that offers cyber security services.

"The Justice Department is committed to pursuing the arrest and prosecution of these hackers, no matter how long it takes, and we have a long memory", said Dana Boente, acting assistant attorney general for national security, on Monday.

In 2015 and 2016, the alleged hackers also stole information from Siemens's energy, technology and transportation businesses and from the networks of Global Positioning System developer Trimble Inc., the indictment said.

Though acting U.S. attorney in Pittsburgh Soo Song told the Journal the DOJ did not know why the hackers targeted the companies, an anonymous United States official told Reuters the Trimble data could be useful in tracking dissidents and other persons of interest such as spies.

All three men have been charged as individuals rather than state-sponsored hackers, Reuters reports.

The defendants were identified as Wu Yingzhuo, Dong Hao and Xia Lei.

Monday's indictment is the first filed by the U.S. since Chinese President Xi Jinping and then-U.S. President Barack Obama reached an agreement in 2015 that their governments wouldn't direct or support hacking for commercial purposes.

A Siemens representative said the company doesn't comment on "internal security matters" but that it "rigorously" monitors its networks.

"Trimble responded to the incident and concluded that there is no meaningful impact on its business", the company says in a statement.

At least one of the men named in the indictment was allegedly keeping tabs on this economist's efforts.

Against Moody's, Xia hacked into the email of a Moody's specialist and placed a rule on his email that forwarded all messages to a separate email account.

In the wake of the indictment, it's not clear if APT 3 remains in operation.

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